By Amy Klein, Religion Editor
Interfaith Call to Action
The prophet Amos said, "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an overflowing stream." Why the word "justice" and not "charity?" Because justice addresses the root of a problem, Rabbi Suzanne Singer said, paraphrasing Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of America's Union for Reform Judaism and the man who started the Reform movement's lobbying arm, the Religious Action Center.
"Congregations tend to be good at doing a mitzvah day -- feed the hungry, clothing the poor -- and that's very important, but we also need to spend time addressing the root of the problem, so there are fewer hungry people, fewer poor people," said Rabbi Singer, the chair of Interfaith Call to Justice: LA 2007. The Nov. 11-12 conference will be a two-day interfaith social justice training and community strategy planning conference.
Singer organized her first advocacy conference in 2005 at Temple Sinai of Oakland, and the upcoming southern conference follows the same model. An interfaith effort with some 60 sponsors, "the point of the conference is to help congregants get involved in [local] legislative and public policy advocacy," she said. While her first conference focused on the problems -- housing costs, hunger, poverty, etc. -- this one will focus on how to solve those problems, by teaching participants effective advocacy, community organizing, and working with existing organizations in those fields.
But why interfaith?
"Each one of our faiths mandates that we must take care of strangers, widows, orphans," Singer said. "We really need to join forces and come together. We can set our differences aside and work for common goals."
Organizers request that participants sign up online by Friday, at www.call-to-justice.org.